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Since my last update of Tex Live (10 days ago), the package flashmovie has been removed from TeX Live repository. I'm wondering if it is intentional? Does any one have an idea? It is sort of annoying: after the update this morning, all the users of my team (20 persons) get compilation errors ...

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Look here to see why: tug.org/pipermail/tex-live/2012-March/031345.html –  AlexG Mar 26 '12 at 8:16
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Wow, apparently movie15 got banned because it only works inside Adobe Reader (which is non-free)! I find that the wrong thing to do. –  Martin Scharrer Mar 26 '12 at 8:51
    
At the time it was written, hyperref too implemented AdobeReader-only features, I guess. –  AlexG Mar 26 '12 at 9:10
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@nicolas: If you choose between flashmovie or media9 for a manual install, go for media9. It has a TDS-conform packagefile: media9.tds.zip. –  AlexG Mar 26 '12 at 9:31

1 Answer 1

To understand why flashmovie has (currently) been removed from TeX Live, you need to know the policy for inclusion of material. TeX Live is 'Debian free', in the sense that all of the material is available under free-as-in-speech licenses. At the same time, there is a policy of not including code in TeX Live which is itself free but which absolutely requires non-free support material. Sometimes, packages get added to TeX Live which later turn out not to meet the criteria for inclusion, and they are then removed. That does not mean the policy has changed, but reflects the fact that it is not easy to track thousands of separate items. (Note that simply being able to use features from a non-free source is not the issue here, it's requiring non-free support to do anything useful.)

In the case of flashmovie, Alexander has linked to the start of the discussion about this package. The package itself has a free license, but depends on particular PDF features. While there are a lot of free PDF viewers available, feature coverage varies. In the case of 'interactive' material, life is made complicated as there is a difference between the required feature being part of the ISO PDF specification and actually being implemented by a free viewer. Adobe has added many features to PDFs, not all of which are in the ISO and not all of which are implemented by any other viewer.

Now, not being an expert I am not 100% clear on whether the features required by flashmovie are (a) part of the ISO PDF standard and (b) available in any free viewer. The latter question seems to be much more complicated than would seem to be the case: there appear to be conflicting opinions!

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If packages use PDF features not in the standard, and so not available for implementation in free PDF readers, then I can understand the exclusion (somewhat), but not otherwise. –  Martin Scharrer Mar 26 '12 at 8:58
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@Martin: This does not apply here. The PDF features that media9 and flashmovie implement are part of the Adobe ISO 32000 Supplement and thus publicly documented. Otherwise I couldn't have written media9. –  AlexG Mar 26 '12 at 9:06
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@JosephWright: AFAIK you can get the PDF standard for free. I downloaded it a couple of times. You have to search a little. You can buy it of course, too. I find packages which rely on public available standards should not be excluded. After all, it's a matter of freedom not availability. –  Martin Scharrer Mar 26 '12 at 9:12
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What about cooltooltips.sty? It uses Adobe Javascript API, which is supported by AR only! Sorry for being that harsh but this is a bullshit decision. The problem is the inability of poppler guys to fully support the PDF format. The PDF Reference and now ISO3200 is, were and will be available for free download. To ignore the world behind a horizon set by poor and buggy software is just ... The idea of free software seems to become more and more nonsense and sandpit battle ground for fundamentalist little kids fighting for their sacred cow! –  Josef Mar 26 '12 at 13:53
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@Josef, @Martin. media9 and flashmovie seem to be (back) in TeXLive, after all. In case of previous installations in TEXMFLOCAL, remove them from there in order to benefit from auto-install/updates via tlmgr. –  AlexG Mar 29 '12 at 12:53

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